Well, this was unexpected… If you haven’t heard the rumors, read the articles, or questionably obtained the last issue of The Amazing Spider-Man #700 – Peter Parker is dead. Or is he? He is. Wait, this is comics, so does he really die? Yeah, he’s dead. In the final panels, our favorite down on his luck hero meets a rather unceremonious, if not degrading death, hopelessly trapped inside the grotesque body of Doctor Octopus. Not really the treatment this young hero deserved.
Detained by The Avengers, the nearly dead Octavius requests Peter Parker to his side. Not Spidey mind you, but Parker. Oh, shit. Being a comic book, Otto somehow switches bodies with his young and virile enemy. If this is hard to swallow, I feel like maybe you’re not getting it. Anything is possible in comics. Hell, technically, Pete is about 50 years old if you want to split hairs. Anyway, Pete makes a valiant effort, even getting some super villains to break him out as Doc Ock, and helping propel him closer to getting his body back. Pete doesn’t make it, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Otto also has all of Peter’s memories (remember, comic book), and sees, ahem, with great power comes great responsibility. Doctor Octo-Peter vows he will use this new and powerful body to do good. I guess walking a mile in Peter’s brain drew some parallels the metal-armed villain wasn’t aware of.
We’ll all get the lowdown when the final issue hits nerd hands on 12/26, providing the worst day after Xmas present EVER. The Superior Spider-Man debuts on 1/9, promising to shine a brighter light on my favorite comic book hero of all time. How weird is it going to be? Really, really weird. Seriously though, aren’t we used to surprises like this? We live in a world where Ross is the Red Hulk, Summers became Dark Phoenix, The Punisher was a frankenstein, and Reed Richards is the bad guy in the Ultimate Universe. This move might be shocking, but don’t we all want to have our asses handed to us on occasion?
So, how does the collective geek community feel? Pretty fucking strongly – death threat strong. Dan Slott (the portly and creative ringmaster) manged to catapult the hero back into our good graces when he took over writing duties in issue # 546, introducing the Brand New Day arc, something Spidey fans were more than ready for after the soul-selling bullshit that preceded it. Slott is responsible for other great titles like Avengers: The Initiative, and even picked up Bendis’ ball in Mighty Avengers; the guy is about as legit and humble as writers come – he is Spider-Man to me. So, why all the hating? Gather around, true believers, I have universal truths to share: people are fucking idiots. How dare a man hired to write comics take the liberty to kill the hero. It’s his job, dipshits, and before the hate mail starts (and I warn you – I have no patience for it), sure, you’re entitled to have strong feelings. We all get that. I’ve thrown comics across the room, called writers dumbasses on Twitter, and generally acted like a man whose spent the better part of his 43 years loving and hating comics. This behavior is simply too much though. Slott reported these threats to the authorities, and I genuinely hope the guilty parties get their asses thrown in jail. People take threats of this caliber to heart in 2012. He wasn’t kidding when he said he was going into hiding after 12/26.
I feel like I’m beating a dead horse, but for the last time – this is a comic we’re talking about. Dead doesn’t usually mean dead in comics; I don’t have time to make a list for you. Before the “real” death, Pete dies for three minutes in the final issue, meeting Gwen and her father, along with the iconic Uncle Ben in a Heavenly realm – they all tell him his work isn’t done yet. Call me crazy, but I find it hard to believe this is the end of Spidey as we know him. Maybe he got his body back and has retained some of Otto’s memories? I’m not the comic writer, but one good turn deserves another. The Ultimate Universe killed Peter, resulting in Miles Morales as The Ultimate Spider-Man, one of the best new Marvel titles of the last decade. Have faith, enjoy the trip, and be patient – we all know this isn’t the end of Peter Parker as Spider-Man. The Marvel Now campaign has plenty of surprises and role reversals in order, moving the universe into creative new lands – I say we run with it.
Feel free to throw up when you realize that Otto is banging Mary Jane Watson.